23 August, 2023
Abigail Hunter, a current student in the Master of Arts in Sustainable Energy (online) program, decided to pursue graduate study in order to specialize her knowledge in the field of sustainable energy, with a particular interest in energy storage. In the Q&A below, learn why she chose the MA in Sustainable Energy (online) program, what stood out most in the program, and why she thinks the program is turning out the next generation of leaders in the field.
You can also watch a video where Abigail sheds light on her experience.
Why did you choose the MA in Sustainable Energy (online) program?
My career has mostly been as a generalist, which I think is very common in Washington, but I found that to be able to advance and get more out of my career, developing my expertise would ensure that I have deeper connections with people. And not just the ones that I’m in the same field with, but also people curious about an issue. And I decided that I wanted that expertise to be in sustainable energy and, more specifically, energy storage. So it definitely perked my interest to see that Johns Hopkins SAIS, which is a very reputable organization, had a program on that exact subject.
How have you benefited from the program being online?
I — and a couple of my classmates agree with me on this point — never thought that I would go back to school and leave the workforce. I’m very career oriented. And I thought that I could just advance through working, but when I found out in myself that I wanted to take a clear jump in one direction in my career, and that it merited a post-secondary education, I really didn’t want to quit my job. I wanted to walk and chew gum. So the fact that this program was online definitely enabled me to do that.
What stands out the most during your time in the program?
Since starting the program, I’ve noticed a lot of my classmates have really successfully pivoted their careers and seeing that only reassures me that I have potential growth in this field.
It also makes me realize that this program is actually turning out the next generation of leaders in sustainable energy and has enabled them to change career paths or grow in a specific energy related career path, and it’s great to know that beyond this I will have this strong network, which isn’t something that’s guaranteed in an online program.
How has this program helped you with your professional goals?
I think it’s helped me in my professional goals in that it’s enabled me to try on a lot of different careers. That’s the approach I took to the program.
I think my other cohort members might have taken a bit of a different approach, but I really wanted to experiment with areas that I was interested in working in and so I’ve written papers and done research projects and group projects on transmission infrastructure, EV battery policies abroad, climate finance in Africa. And all of that has enabled me to see what I want to work on in this field, and [ask] what are the greatest limitations to a career in this field? What are the greatest opportunities? And so I think that’s been really helpful. I definitely feel as though I’ve narrowed my focus for when I want to take my next step in my career in the sustainable energy world as a result of this program.
What would you say to someone who is interested in enrolling in this program?
I would say if you’re feeling like you don’t know enough about sustainable energy or you feel like you have a real strong hold on a specific area of sustainable energy, this program has the opportunity to benefit both sides of that.
So if you’re looking in any way to bolster your credibility, whether it’s credibility in sustainable energies or fossil fuels or policies that enable or undermine either of those, I think that there’s something for you.